From neuron to brain 5th ed.
Additional Author(s)
  • Nicholls, John G.
  • Martin, A. Robert
  • Fuchs, Paul A.
  • Brown, David A.
  • Diamond, Mathew E.
  • Weisblat, David A.
PublisherSunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates Inc, 2012
ISBN / ISSN9780878936090
NotesGlossary: p. G1G10. Appendix: p. A1-C8.

Physical Dimension

Number of pagesxxiii, 621 p.
Dimension29 cm.
Other desc.ill.


From Neuron to Brain, Fifth Edition, provides a readable, up-to-date book for use in undergraduate, graduate, and medical school courses in neuroscience. As in previous editions, the emphasis is on experiments made by electrical recordings, molecular and cellular biological techniques, and behavioral studies on the nervous system, from simple reflexes to cognitive functions. Lines of research are followed from the inception of an idea to new findings being made in laboratories and clinics today. A major change is that this edition begins with the anatomy and physiology of the visual system, from light receptors in the retina to the perception of images. This allows the reader to appreciate right away how nerve cells act as the building blocks for perception. Detailed mechanisms of signaling are then described in later chapters. All chapters have been rewritten, and new chapters added. From Neuron to Brain will be of interest to anyone, with or without a specialized background in biological sciences, who is curious about the workings of the nervous system.

Table of Content

Part I. Introduction to the Nervous System

1. Principles of Signaling and Organization

*Introductory material

*Increased emphasis on genetics and molecular mechanisms

2. Signaling in the Visual System

*Shifted to the beginning of the book from the end

*Extensively reworked to improve accessibility for readers without background knowledge of neurobiology

*Synaptic physiology in the visual cortex

3. Functional Architecture of the Visual Cortex
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*Like Chapter 2, shifted to the beginning of the book

*New information about columnar organization

Part II. Electrical Properties of Neurons and Glia

4. Ion Channels and Signaling

*Minor revisions for increased clarity

5. Structure of Ion Channels
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*Detailed molecular structure of both the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor channel and the voltage-sensitive potassium channel

*Conformational changes underlying channel gating

*Regulation of ion selectivity

*Updated catalogue of ion channels and channel subunits, including revised protein and gene designations

6. Ionic Basis of the Resting Potential

*Channels associated with â$e leakâ$e currents in the resting membrane

7. Ionic Basis of the Action Potential

*Mechanism underlying voltage gating of channels

*Mechanisms underlying hyperpolarizing and depolarizing after potentials

*Role of afterpotentials in membrane excitability

8. Electrical Signaling in Neurons

*Revised discussion of membrane resistance and capacitance

*Detailed structure of gap junctions

9. Ion Transport across Cell Membranes

*Revised discussion of chloride transport

*Updated classification and designation of neurotransmitter transporters

*Expanded discussion of transmitter uptake mechanisms

10. Properties and Functions of Neuroglial Cells
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*The role of glia at synapses

*Radial glia and neurogenesis

*Calcium waves in glia

*Regulation of cerebral blood flow by glia

*The role of microglia

Part III. Intercellular Communication

11. Mechanisms of Direct Synaptic Transmission

*Updated content on gating of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors

*Discussion of chemical transmission expanded to include excitatory and inhibitory transmission in the mammalian central nervous system

*New material on drugs and toxins acting on the neuromuscular junction, and on how transmitter receptors are localized at their postsynaptic sites

*Expanded treatment of the role of connexons and the functions of electrical transmission in the mammalian central nervous system

12. Indirect Mechanisms of Synaptic Transmission

*New material on how G proteins work

*Discussion of the role of membrane phospholipids as ion channel regulators

*New coverage of endocannabinoids, nitric oxide, and carbon monoxide as neural messengers

*New material on how different receptor-activated signaling cascades are integrated or segregated in the neuron

13. Release of Neurotransmitters
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*New evidence for the direct role of calcium in transmitter release

*Use of fluorescent dyes and capacitance measurements to monitor vesicle fusion

*Detailed mechanism of vesicle fusion and exocytosis

*Molecular details of active zone structure revealed by electron tomography

*Structure of ribbon synapses

*The role of vesicle pools in transmitter release and recovery

14. Neurotransmitters in the Central Nervous System
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*Expanded and updated sections on amino acid transmitters, acetycholine, monoamines, and ATP

*Coverage of new aspects of peptidergic transmission: nociceptin (orphanin); the orexins, sleep, and regulation of food intake; and vasopressin, oxytocin, and the social brain

15. Transmitter Synthesis, Transport, Storage, and Inactivation

*New material on co-uptake, co-storage, and co-release of transmitters

16. Synaptic Plasticity

*Expanded discussion of presynaptic and postsynaptic mechanisms underlying long-term potentiation and long-term depression

Part IV. Integrative Mechanisms

17. Autonomic Nervous System

*Retinal ganglion cells responding to light

*Circadian rhythms

*M current second messengers


18. Cellular Mechanisms of Behavior in Ants, Bees, and Leeches

*Path-finding by ants on stilts

*Optical recording and systems approach to behavioral analysis; how a leech makes up its mind

Part V. Sensation and Movement

19. Sensory Transduction
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*Fundamental aspects of sensory signaling exemplified by cutaneous and muscle receptors

*Detailed and updated descriptions of hair cell mechanotransduction, chemical senses, and nociception

20. Transduction and Transmission in the Retina
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*Coverage of the transduction cascade whereby the absorption of light results in photoreceptor hyperpolarization

*How intrinsically photosensitive ganglion cells subserve circadian rhythms

*Synaptic connectivity of photoreceptors, interneurons, and ganglion cells in the retina

21. Touch, Pain, and Texture Sensation
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*Completely new chapter, covering the most recent research on the somatosensory system from receptors to cortical organization

*Description of the processing that leads from contact of an object with the skin to recognition of the physical properties of that object

*New material on the functional organization of the somatosensory system, both in rats and mice, where the whiskers are particularly important, and in primates, where the fingertips are particularly important

22. Auditory and Vestibular Sensation
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*Frequency selectivity and amplification in the mammalian cochlea

*Electrical tuning of hair cells in the turtle inner ear

*Structure and function of the vestibular periphery

23. Constructing Perception
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*Completely new chapter, dedicated to a description of processing in the brain that occurs after the primary sensory areas

*Special attention given to current investigations concerning how a vibration on the fingertip is perceived, and how objects are recognized in a visual scene

24. Circuits Controlling Reflexes, Respiration, and Coordinated Movements

*Optical recording from brainstem respiratory circuits

*Columnar organization of motor cortex


Part VI. Development and Regeneration of the Nervous System

25. Development of the Nervous System

*Text now includes, among many other additions: homeotic genes for forebrain development; neuron generation from radial glia; considerations of adult neurogenesis; mention of clinically important developmental defects

*Broadened overview of signaling

26. Critical Periods in Sensory Systems

*The role of experience in shaping connectivity of the visual cortex

*Critical periods in auditory system development

*The interplay of intrinsic and extrinsic factors in developmental plasticity

27. Regeneration of Synaptic Connections after Injury

*Greater emphasis on molecular mechanisms of synapse formation, agrin receptors, and the potential for use of stem cells for repair of the central nervous system

Part VII. Conclusion

28. Open Questions

*Clinical relevance emphasized


*Current Flow in Electrical Circuits

*Metabolic Pathways for the Synthesis and Inactivation of Low-Molecular-Weight Transmitters

*Structures and Pathways of the Brain


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